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Child support & seeing your children during the Covid-19 restrictions

Written by Leanne Abela
14 August 2020

Can I still see my children during the Covid-19 Pandemic?

The number of parenting disputes have increased significantly during the restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving parents wondering how to navigate through these challenging times.  Ultimately parents are facing a risk versus benefit dilemma of balancing the safety of their children against ensuring that the children spend time with the other parent as per court orders or by agreement.

So where does this leave thousands of parents and their children?

The Family and Federal Circuit Court Judges have warned that parents must do their best to comply with court orders and formal parenting arrangements. Therefore urging parents not to suspend time-with arrangements unless they have reasonable excuse (for example a health professional directing you and the children into quarantine or a travel ban being issued). However, there is less clarity for those that do not have court orders or formal arrangements in place.

Although restrictions are due to ease and children are returning to school there remains significant confusion around parenting arrangements including changeovers, parents that live overseas or interstate and are seeking to spend time with children across these borders there are significant considerations. 

We can guide resident parents based on their specific circumstances. 

Do I have to pay Child Support if I have lost my job due to Covid-19?

The pandemic and the associated restrictions have had a profound effect upon countless Australians particularly in instances of job loss and reduction in work hours. A loss of income undoubtedly affects the ability of a liable parent to pay child support and can also impact the parent in receipt of child support and their ability to financially support the children. 

If you are paying child support pursuant to a child support assessment you must notify DHS Child Support without delay and advise of any change in your income. The parent receiving child support should also contact Centrelink to consider options available to help them during this difficult time. 

Meeting child support payments or the payment of school fees and other costs relating to your children pursuant to an existing Child Support Agreement will be more challenging to navigate as these types of agreements can only be terminated in certain limited circumstances. 

If you are concerned about your child support obligations contact Pearsons Lawyers for your free initial consultation today and Know Where You Stand.

Do I have to pay Spousal Maintenance if I have lost my job due to Covid-19?

If you have lost your job and are required to pay spousal maintenance to your former spouse arising from a court order or from a Binding Financial Agreement it is critical that you obtain legal advice without delay. 

If you are unable to make payments it is important that attempts are made to reach agreement and/or engage through the court process rather than unilaterally stopping payments as this may be considered to be a breach of the Court order or financial agreement. 

It is important that you get tailored advice and attempts are made to reach agreement regarding a variation to the Financial Agreement and/or the Court order until you return to full time work. Failure to engage in this process could lead to court proceedings that could have been otherwise avoided. 

If you have any queries or wish to have a confidential discussion regarding your matter please contact Pearsons Lawyers for your free initial appointment and Know Where You Stand today.

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